Earlier this year, Nike sent over a brand new pair of their Alpha Huarache 7 Pro lacrosse cleats, and seeing as the Swoosh has long crafted top notch footwear, I was obviously excited. My current cleats are a more basic pair of Nike lows, and while I really like them, I’m always excited to see what Nike’s top of the line products have in store – they consistently put an extra bit of attention into the form and function of their footwear and it usually results in a fantastic product. It’s a lot of pressure, but if any brand can live up to its past successes, it’s Nike.
I opened the box, marveled at the frosty limited edition design quickly, and then brought my old cleats and the new cleats out to a field, and did some agility work in both sets of shoes. While I still haven’t been able to wear the new cleats in a game, I got a good feel for what these boots are all about, and it’s good. It’s really good.
Before we talk performance, let’s get the aesthetics covered, because these cleats are certainly head turners. I’m not entirely sure what the color combos will be for the retail versions of the cleat, but if the promo cleats give us any indication it’s that these cleats will look good no matter what.
My reasoning for this is that there are a lot of small details, but the overall look is super clean. The promo cleat is almost all white, and this makes the smaller detailing aspects really pop. The patterning on the back of the heel, the shimmer of the large green swoosh, the small Huarache and Nike logos, the faded NIKE on the inside of the foot, and the lace ends are all powerful, but none are overwhelming. It’s a great mix of bold and classic, and has a super premium overall appearance. The lightly colored (but shimmering!) sole of the cleat really stands out as well with the deep patterning, but we’ll get to that more later!
The single-piece toe has light patterning, but like the rest of the shoes, there are VERY few seams. This will make the cleat easy to clean, and should also keep more water out than your normal cleats on a muddy or soaked field. Overall this cleat will certainly earn you a double take or two.
The Huarache 7 is certainly lightweight, but it doesn’t feel flimsy like some other super light cleats can feel, so I was curious if something so seemingly strong and rigid could also be comfortable. Lightweight materials can be super stiff, so I had to put them on and run to see what was happening.
To my surprise, the cleat was pretty much ready to go right away, and the biggest reason for this was the flex that the cleated sole of the shoes allows. With almost every pair of cleats I’ve ever owned, it took some time to break them in. The uppers had to soften and mold to my foot, but the cleat plate also needed to break in. Like a face off head, the plastic in a cleat plate eventually breaks down and gets softer, and then those are your favorite cleats.
In this case, the Huarache 7s felt more broken in than your average cleat, and that flex point right under the ball of my feet was already there. Within a couple minutes, it felt like I’d had the cleats for a month. My older cleats took time to break in, but these were much closer right away.
The upper is a snug fit, and while my foot felt very locked in and secure, there wasn’t a hint of constriction or discomfort. Whether I was running in a straight line, at an angle, sideways or backwards, I felt very secure in knowing that these cleats were ready for it all, and my feet felt great. The lower part of the upper is less breathable, but the top portion, and the tongue are both breathable, allowing your feet to be protected and stay dry, without overheating.
Nike used flywire all over this shoe, but they locked it down with additional stitching and the cleat feels extremely stable, no matter what movement is being done. As I said above, it’s a great cleat right out of the box, and a big part of this not only the comfort, but also the function and performance. From a stability standpoint, this cleat is superb.
On the traction front we come back to the cleated sole of the shoe yet again, and there is really good reason for this – this sole is truly something else. The organic looking indents that run throughout the bottom allow for strength as well as flex, and it looks like a bee’s honeycomb in many ways. Nature provided inspiration and Nike ran with it. Now we can too. It’s cool stuff, and it works.
The actual cleat points are also different. Gone are the old circular cleat cones, and in their place we see more triangular cleat heads. Seeing as lacrosse movements are often multi-directional, and require agility and quickness at the drop of a hat, this approach makes a ton of sense. A sharp edge allows a push in any direction, and the edge corresponds with the movement that would be made. It’s a REALLY well designed cleat pattern and it delivers on connecting a player to the ground.
I’ve only possessed these cleats for a couple of days, so commenting on actual durability would be impossible. I can say that the limited seam approach in the design really intrigues me. Almost of the stitching, seams, and material joining sections have been covered, and while I definitely believe this will make the shoes easier to keep clean, I’m curious to see if it also provides improved durability. We will have to wait and see on this one, but I don’t see any areas on the cleat that create a cause for concern.
This is definitely a premium, lacrosse-specific product, and it’s going to have a higher price point than your average lacrosse cleat or athletic shoe. Quite frankly, it’s a great product, so a higher price point seems fair. There is a lot of really good stuff going on here, so the question becomes – how important is a great pair of cleats to YOU? If you’re looking for a pair that can deliver in every way, then the Huarache 7s are going to be your best option.
Have I always loved and almost always worn Nike cleats? Yes, yes I have. I’m not ashamed to admit it, and it doesn’t make me biased. I’ve done my research, and over the years, I’ve dabbled with other brands, but I always come back to the Swoosh. There is a consistency of quality and a mix of form and function you just don’t get in many other places. The Nike Alpha Huarache 7 Pro takes this existing legacy to the next level, and I’m pretty sure the vast majority of players who can wear these will wear these.
I personally find the design and look these cleats to be stunning and done without any gimmicks. They’re bright and bold, and yet classic and timeless, and this appeals to me. If that doesn’t appeal to you, that’s fine, because the function of the cleats certainly will. The fit is certain and snug, but also supportive and comfortable. The cleat plate is a game changer, and while it adds something to the look, the real benefit is seen in how it performs. This is a dynamic cleat, and it’s going to raise the bar in the lacrosse footwear game yet again for Nike.
Other Alpha Huarache 7 styles:
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